Le premier qui fut roi fut un soldat heureux:
Qui sert bien son pays n’a pas besoin d’aïeux.
The first who was king was a fortunate soldier:
Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.
But it is over,—and I have got a new skin, and am as glossy as a snake in its new suit.
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
—Champ and Moore3
Wounded maple bleeds thick sweetness
only enemies bent under
this dome of sky bruised inside, poised
to burn into fullness of bloom,
find their relief by tasting it,
twisted limbs against which each melts,
tongues flickering, signifying
sighs glistening mist, blemish through
orange-skinned dusk gifting each his,
avenging sundown kiss almost
cigarette, pulp laced with peaches
and amethysts, as glass employs
palettes of stains, colours trees with
fire, writhing candles with turquoise,
ii. With the Pseudonymity of an Apocalyptist
tries from beneath waxen rind dressed
in solemnities of silent
shine to paint the world outside, cloys
as the fruit of any mind soon
tends to do, to its bitterest,
senses underwhelmed with these rusts
of pleasure, rotten through brushes
against automaton bliss dooms
them with, soft acrimonious
pox revelating across hot
lips what secret boils to surface,
ripples until flesh flakes what noise
of shade light’s exposure eats as
its cloak disintegrates, annoys
to hand-clap and finger-snap wet
as ascetic sweat incanted
between each beat of this heart, joys
hardened by having been for too
sustained an agonizing hold
of a moment men had and held
by you relegate, breaking from
trance experience creates wounds
desiring too much to be blessed
with being wanted by you bled,
from within pokes through wilderness
as heaven splits, fingers deployed
’til only the middle is left,
sticking up, erect, syrup-(s)(p)oiled.
1Voltaire, «Scène III» / “Scene Three”, Lines 175–176, of «Acte Premier» / “Act One”, in Mérope: Tragédie / Mérope: A Tragedy, dialogue spoken by the character Polyphonte to the play’s eponymous protagonist Mérope, in Voltaire’s Mérope: Edited with Introduction and Notes by George Saintsbury, published at Oxford by The Clarendon Press in 1885; page 80. Rendered into English often as, “Make a name for yourself and you will have no need of ancestors.”
2Lord Byron, to Thomas Moore, from Pisa, August 27th, 1822, in Byron’s Letters and Journals, Volume IX: ‘In the wind’s eye,’ 1821–1822: Edited by Leslie A. Marchand, published at Cambridge, Massachusetts by Harvard University Press in 1979; pages 196–198.
3Janet Champ and Charlotte Moore of the Portland, Oregon-based advertising firm Wieden & Kennedy, promotional copy in their four-page print spread of a marketing campaign for Nike, which first appeared as a series of advertisements in Vogue Magazine: October 1991 (Volume 181, Issue 10), published at New York by Condé Nast in 1991; page 207. ¶ Misattributed often to Ralph Waldo Emerson and misperceived frequently to be a motivational quotation, although this phrase has no precedent or evidence of its existence whatsoever prior to its development and creation by paid professionals for a slogan selling sneakers in a fashion magazine.